“Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, ‘Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.’ So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.” - Mark 5:11-13
If you didn’t already know that Jesus, the disciples, and the demoniac were in Gentile territory, then you certainly do now. Pigs were considered unclean and would not be tolerated in any Jewish community. The desperate legion of demons begged Jesus to send them into the herd. One can only assume they thought such a fate was better than the eternal abyss of judgement. Again, Jesus asserted and established his full authority over the unclean spirits; he consented to their request. The demons would not be allowed to remain in this man, but Jesus would send them into the herd. 6,000 demons possessing 2,000 pigs…this should be interesting.
As soon as the demons entered the pigs, the pigs entered the sea, where they all promptly drowned. The demons had not only lost control of their former host but of their realm as well. After tormenting this man and the community for years, they got a taste of their own medicine. The astonishing number of demons and pigs, the sheer magnitude of this miracle, underscored how powerful this man called Jesus really was. No one had ever seen that type of demonic oppression broken.
This narrative began with the destructive nature of evil, but it ends with the redeeming work of Jesus. He came to build the kingdom of God. In doing so, he would demonstrate his authority over all things: nature, disease, death, and unclean spirits. The demons were surely shuddering, the possessed man was set free, and the disciples were once again amazed as Jesus seemed to do the impossible. While we would expect all to rejoice, we will see that the kingdom of God is not always wanted or welcome.
How are you receiving the kingdom of God? How are you fulfilling the call to build and expand it? Do you realize that some will rejoice in its growth while many others will resist and resent it? No matter how the world around you responds, God remains in control and his kingdom will prevail. May we choose to see the power of Jesus; may we choose to live in that power through the in-dwelling Holy Spirit; and may we bind the forces of evil that seek to control us, thwart us, and keep us from fulfilling our calling in this world.
Reflect and Respond:
How do you see the destructive nature of evil being broken in this world? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our new six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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